A reporter asked me today how I came up with the idea to write How Do You Work This Life Thing. I kind of stalled for a moment realizing that there were a lot of powers-that-be that came together to make this thing happen when it did. My sister had thought of writing a book like this in college, but the family biz just wasn't at a place to facilitate it. So they waited and waited. Then a few years later my dad got a group of my college guy friends together as a focus group and to brainstorm titles for his book Essential Manners For Men. The guys loved the idea of EMFM and on the car ride home we were scheming what else could have been included in the book. (PS. The title the boys came up with was "How to date a woman and not get slapped.") So with that thought in my head I noticed over the next couple of weeks that pretty much all we freshman vented about was our work load and roommate dilemmas.
And, like a true college student, I forgot all about it. A year and a half later I was hanging out with my boyfriend when my cell rang. It was my dad. In his 'I'm not giving anything away voice' he said, "Hey, can you come down to the office for a minute? There's something we have to talk about." Butterflies were swarming in my stomach and my head flitting, around with ideas like my bank account was seriously overdrawn, or he found some dent in the convertible that was my fault somehow, or maybe I got busted by the police and didn't know it. I mean, I was really thinking the ridiculous could be possible. I was so freaked out that when I showed up slowly peered into his office. The first words out of my mouth were, "Am I in trouble?" — ya know, no matter how grown up I am, my parents can still make me feel like a 15-year-old getting busted sneaking out — "No, you're not in trouble. I have an idea I want to run by you."
PHEW!!!!!!!!!! Wow. You could literally see the color come back into my face and I stood up straighter now. "Oh, thank god! What's up?"
"Well we wanted to write a book for people your age, because there's a real break in our demographic. We just don't have something that a college student would want to read." I was thinking, Cool, who better than to ask for ideas than a college kid herself! Then he dropped the cool part. "We'd like you to write it." You could hear the record scratch. "What???! You really think I can?" I mean, I really had a hard time believing this. "You really believe I can do this?"
"I wouldn't ask you if I didn't, kiddo."
"Ok then, let's write a book! Thank you Dad! I mean, it's crazy but...wow."
I went home and started brainstorming ideas immediately. From then on, I found that anyone I talked to about it had a story to tell, so I just kept collecting stories and double checking ideas with friends. 65,000 words later and a lot of edits under my belt I had a book!
Books mentioned in this post
Lizzie Post is the author of How Do You Work This Life Thing?: Advice for the Newly Independent on Roommates, Jobs, Sex, and Everything That Counts